ESTATE OF BRANDY NICOLE STOUTENBERG, by its Administrator, JESSICA STOUTENBERG, EMINA MARIE BRKOVIC, by Estate of Brandy Stoutenberg, by its Administrator Jessica Stoutenberg, and DEANNA MARIE MCGILLAN, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
UNITED ANESTHESIA & PAIN CONTROL, P.C., IOWAHEALTH-DES MOINES; CENTRAL IOWA HOSPITAL CORPORATION;IOWA HEALTH PHYSICIANS; IOWA HEALTH PHYSICIANS AND CLINICS;IOWA HEALTH SYSTEM; CENTRAL IOWA HEALTH SYSTEM; and IOWA HEALTH SYSTEM HOSPITAL CORPORATION, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Douglas F.
appeals the district court's denial of its second motion
to amend and the denial of a motion to continue summary
S. Harding of Harding Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.
A. Nelson, Barry G. Vermeer, and Annmarie M. Kelly of
Gislason & Hunter, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
estate of Brandy Stoutenberg, and others, appeal the district
court's denial of a continuance and motion to amend. We
find the district court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the motion to amend and in refusing to grant a
continuance. We affirm the district court.
Background Facts and Proceedings
died September 11, 2010, at the age of twenty four, due to
mixed-drug intoxication. The plaintiffs initiated a wrongful
death lawsuit on August 29, 2012. The suit alleged Dr. Daniel
J. Baldi, D.O., prescribed a lethal combination of pain
medication. The petition also alleges Dr. Baldi was acting as
an agent of United Anesthesia & Pain Control, P.C.
(United), and therefore, United was liable for damages under
the doctrine of repondeat superior. The petition listed
several other corporations as defendants, including Iowa
Health Physicians (Iowa Physician), but did not specifically
allege vicarious liability claims against them.
case was stayed due to criminal charges relating to Dr.
Baldi's care of Stoutenberg. After Dr. Baldi was
acquitted, an order was entered on March 16, 2015, setting
the wrongful death trial for October 24, 2016. Discovery
began, and on April 11 the plaintiff's expert, Gordon A.
Beardwood, M.D., was deposed. During the deposition, Dr.
Beardwood opined Dr. Baldi's prescriptions had not caused
Stoutenberg's death. Dr. Beardwood believed the drugs
Effexor, Adderall, and Xanax caused Stoutenberg's death.
The drugs had not been prescribed by Dr. Baldi but by Shehzad
Kamran, M.D., a psychiatrist working for Iowa Physician.
2, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiffs then moved, on June 22, to amend their petition to
substitute a vicarious liability claim for the actions of Dr.
Kamran in place of the actions of Dr. Baldi. The plaintiffs
did not seek to amend the petition to include Dr. Kamran as a
defendant. The plaintiffs also requested a continuance in
order to conduct further discovery. On September 9, the
district court denied the plaintiffs' motion to amend and
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The
Standard of Review
to amend pleadings should be given freely when justice so
requires. Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.402(4). When reviewing the denial
of a motion for leave to amend, we examine the decision of
the district court for an abuse of discretion. See Porter
v. Good Eavespouting, 505 N.W.2d 178, 180 (Iowa 1993).
Similarly, a district court's ruling on a motion to
continue summary judgment to allow for additional discovery
is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Kulish v.
Ellsworth, 566 N.W.2d 885, 889 (Iowa 1997)